Tag Archives: James Hayman

Obsession Most Fatal

A Fatal Obsession: A McCabe & Savage Thriller by James Hayman (Witness Impulse, $11.99, 368 pages)

a fatal obsession

A Fatal Obsession marks James Hayman’s sixth book in his McCabe & Savage series.  Once again, author Hayman provides his readers with a well-crafted thriller.  His mastery of language and plot lines smoothly intertwines the musings and actions of deranged killer Tyler Bradshaw with the advancement of the romantic relationship between Detective Sargent Michael McCabe and Investigator Maggie Savage, both of the Portland, Maine Police Department’s Crimes Against People unit.

Faithful readers of Hayman’s series will be sure to see the sharp contrast between a strong family that looks after its own and an abusive one that created a killing machine.  This time around McCabe employs his skill as a seasoned investigator and team builder to track down his brilliant, budding actress niece, Zoe McCabe, who has disappeared following the final performance of Othello at a New York City Lower East Side community theater.

The riveting prologue captures the reader’s attention and, if you’ll excuse the trite puns, sets the stage for a very bumpy ride.  McCabe and Savage complement each other’s styles in devising the hunt for Zoe.  Bradshaw cleverly demands unwavering attention through his brilliant deceptions as he spins a fantasy that escalates a killing spree of artistic young women.

Having nearly unlimited funds can lead to disaster.  Those who wish for such a life may not want to have paid the high price that cost Bradshaw a “normal” one.  Although he has a few redeeming qualities, they’re not enough by a large measure.

This is a highly recommended for mystery and thriller fans of all ages who enjoy reading stand-alones and series.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

A Fatal Obsession was released on August 21, 2018.

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Wild Child

chill-of-night

The Chill of Night: A McCabe and Savage Thriller by James Hayman (Witness Impulse, $11.99, 432 pages)

The setting is Portland, Maine, the month is December and the weather is bitter cold. The tale affords an escape from the everyday world in more ways than one. The main character, Detective Sargent Michael McCabe, has accomplished what many folks only dream about, transplanting himself and his daughter from New York City to a closely knit community away from big-city violence and crime. But has he? A German luxury car abandoned on the Portland Fish Pier for several days contains a frozen body in the trunk. So what happened to the charm and quaintness of the postcard setting, much less the implied safety? It seems evil lurks in the nicest of locales.

After the body is carefully thawed out, the identification is made and the detective work begins. Since most folks know each other around this part of town, McCabe bounces back and forth among his suspects gathering clues while attempting to eliminate suspects. To his credit, Hayman includes Abby, a young woman with schizophrenia, and the only witness to the crime. Without getting on a soapbox or dragging down the story, he develops her character with solid information about her disease which helps to explain her actions. Unfortunately, the policeman on duty when she bursts into the station house has a very hard time believing Abby’s excited ramblings about the murder and dismisses her report as a hallucination. This lack of understanding delays the hunt for the killer and places others in jeopardy.

James Hayman seamlessly picks up from his first mystery novel, The Cutting, with his core characters McCabe, his artist girlfriend Kyra, his 13-year-old daughter Cassie, his ex-wife Sandy and Maggie Savage who is his police partner. Hayman spares a loyal reader from too much catching up by keeping to the tale at hand, providing only pertinent information that confirms the identities of the characters and their relationship to McCabe.

There are plenty of quirky and charming elements to the story that keep it from being maudlin. McCabe has his own form of mental challenge. He’s got an eidetic (perfect) memory which affords the author many opportunities to sneak in a bit of trivia that will delight most readers. On a more philosophical note, McCabe wrestles with his own personal demons and makes real progress toward disengaging from his frustrations with his ex-wife, Sandy. His relationships with Kyra and Cassie progress nicely. These characters and their interactions are compelling enough to merit a sequel.

chill-of-night-back-cover

Well recommended for mystery lovers.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

“Taut, suspenseful… as dark and sinister as Lehane or Connelly.” Richard Montanari, author of The Killing Room.

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Coming Up Next…

Chill of Night (nook book)

A review of The Chill of Night: A Novel of Suspense by James Hayman.

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The Cutting

Author James Hayman has applied the skills he developed during a 20+ year career as an advertising executive to mystery writing.   Madison Avenue’s loss is the mystery-lover’s gain.   Like his main character, Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe, Hayman has transplanted himself to Portland, Maine from New York.   His use of dialog and plot line are reminiscent of the TV drama Criminal Minds.   As is customary on Criminal Minds, the lead investigator reaches out to colleagues for clues in piercing together the profile of the perpetrator.

In this case, McCabe is dealing with an “unsub” (unknown subject) who has surgically removed the heart from a teenage girl.   Added to the grisly crime against the teen is the abduction of Lucinda Cassidy, who just happens to work for an ad agency.   Typical of many popular mysteries, this one has a time factor that is key to a rescue opportunity.   Each chapter featuring McCabe has a subheading with the date and time.   Whenever the story switches to Lucinda, there’s a change in the type font.   We are not advised of the date or time.   This serves to heighten the suspense and draw the reader into the action.

Be ready for clever references to what surely must be Hayman’s favorite classic movies, The Third Man and The Day of the Jackal.   The story is kinky in a normal sort of way.   Hayman has applied his word use skills well, much as former corporate executive Lee Eisenberg did in his first book, Shoptimism:  Why the American Consumer Will Keep on Buying No Matter What.   Of course, that’s where the similarity ends.   The characters at the center of McCabe’s life are:  his artist girlfriend Kyra, his 13-year-old daughter Cassie, his ex-wife Sandy and Maggie Savage who is his cop partner.   These characters and their interactions are compelling enough to merit a sequel.

Highly recommended.   4 stars with just enough plot twists and car chases to move the story along nicely in this very good first novel.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A review copy was provided by Dorothy of Pump Up Your Book Promotion. 

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